There is quite a lot of chatter going on around the CW blogosphere in regards to Abraham Lincoln getting an official holiday here in Virginia. Kevin Levin has a great discussion going on over at Civil War Memory that includes an individual who is actually involved in the crafting of the legislation. I will refer you to his post, but wanted to share my quick-take on the matter.
The counter-argument that many folks are using is why should Lincoln deserve a holiday in Virginia? The implication is that he was ‘against’ the Old Dominion. This is NOT true. He was against the portion of Virginia that seceeded from the nation, the Confederate States of America to be exact. That is not the entire population of the state. What about all the enslaved African Americans that were freed by his actions? What about the loyalists who wanted to preserve the Union? Lincoln was actually ‘for’ them.
If we can celebrate Lee and Jackson for defending the Confederacy on behalf of whites, why can’t we also celebrate Lincoln who defeated the Confederacy on behalf of blacks? And if the proud descendants of Virginia’s Confederate Veterans can celebrate their heroes – why can’t the proud descendants of Virginia slaves likewise celebrate theirs? The door swings BOTH ways in my opinion. Whether you’re a Lincoln fan or not, to imply that he did not have a positive impact on Virginia that is worthy of remembrance is wrong.